Exhibition – Great London website

I was rummaging around on the net recently and found a fantastic website which lists on one page, all the photography exhibitions going on in London, including up and coming ones so you can do some planning! What I really like about it is that it lists all the smaller exhibitions which just wouldn’t hit the Time Out radar at all.. Site to link…

http://london-photography-diary.com/exhibitions/current-exhibitions/

exhibitions diary

 

Myanmar Photography Competition … now for lots of praying…

I’ve bitten the bullet and entered a competition to win a 10 day travel photography ‘scholarship’ to Myanmar – hosted by World Nomads… what an opportunity !

Nomad

My entry is based on some travel photographs taken in a little fishing village in Cambodia called Kampung Phluk where the houses are built on stilts and neighbours visit each other by boat… well that’s unless climate change has its say and water levels dramatically drop, which is what we witnessed in 2015…

https://photo17.worldnomads.com/create/scholarships/photography/2017/applications/stoicism-and-joy-in-the-dehydrated-village-of-kampung-phluk

Fingers and everything crossed.. hundreds of entrants on the site already grrrr….  but nothing ventured as they say.

Reflection – What sort of Photographer do I want to be?

I recently attended my nephew’s wedding and took the following shot of one of the bridesmaids..

F05C9165

I received lots of compliments for the image on social media which was of course, nice to receive, but it also prompted me to really start thinking about what I want to do with my photography. Is it going always be a very much loved hobby? Am I enjoying the learning aspect of the OCA courses? Do I actually want to move into attempting to get some sort of an income from my images? I’ve ‘done’ weddings in the past and been encouraged to do more by the fact that I enjoy the interaction, the sense of being part of a happy occasion, etc., but it’s clearly hard work. I can’t currently envisage myself producing photography as ‘art’. Maybe my journey with the OCA might change this viewpoint, but I’ll reflect again in the months and years to come and see where I end up !

Reflection – Technical ability….

Whilst simultaneously feeling euphoric at sending Assignment 5 to my tutor last week, I am also really concerned that I have been so hung up at generating ‘ideas’ for Context and Narrative, that my focus on improving the technical side of my photography has taken a back seat.

‘The Art of Photography’ (TAOP) repeatedly returned to these aspects in many of the exercises and assignments and as part of this reflection, I must admit that I don’t think I’ve made any improvements on this front.  The volume of photographs I have taken over the course of the Context and Narrative module feels much less than for TAOP, with the focus much more on research and reading, I think I just need to get back into the swing of working on improving different technical aspects. I’ve identified the following which I think needs work:-

  •  Sharpness of images – I am naturally a ‘skimmer’ in most things – and so when taking photographs, quantity outweighs the urge to take time and focus on the quality.  I know I’m also prone to keeping aperture large for many images – I like the fact that for portraits it makes the subject stand out. However I often forget to change settings for other types of images I’m taking. I also need to get in the mindset that using a tripod is the default where I’m able to take my time and light may not be quite sufficient to handhold the shot:-
  • Artificial lighting – I need to rig up my studio kit and re-learn how to use it! Now we’ve moved to a bigger house this is definitely a possibility, I just haven’t got around to doing it. I loved the possibilities that artificial lighting gave me when I hired some studio space previously, I just need to take a weekend to get back into that particular zone.
  •  Fill-in flash – I know that many of my shots would improve with the use of this – especially, and including, day time images. I need to understand my flashgun better so it becomes as automatic to use this, as not. Similarly I know that reflectors can be great too – another bit of kit added to the list to start to use more regularly!

Now I’ve made my list I need to get working on it !

Ideas – Elvis Festival Porthcawl

I am currently super excited (despite the 5+ hours drive) to be attending the biggest regular, annual Elvis festival in Europe, taking place in Porthcawl, Wales, next weekend. This festival ‘celebrates’ the memory of Elvis by a gathering of one of the world’s largest number of Elvis impersonators converging in one place… to sing his greatest hits and compete for the title of best ‘Elvis’.

After the festival in 2016, the Daily Mail published some excellent street photography images of the festival from previous years which has given me some real food for thought and ideas of what ‘scenes’ and ‘characters’ to keep an eye open for over the weekend. I particularly love the café location scenes and will most likely be loitering outside these to get some shots:-

Elvis1

Elvis2

Elvis3

The full article can be accessed below:-

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3813643/Elvis-hasn-t-aged-Porthcawl-Shook-fans-King-arrive-one-world-s-biggest-togethers-Presley-impersonators.html

Part 5 – Exercise 2 – Nicky Bird ‘Question for Seller’

The brief for this exercise was to answer the following questions about Nicky Bird’s ‘Question for Seller’ series of photographs; groups of old family photographs she had purchased from eBay and which had attracted no other bidders, the underlying premise being that they were unwanted:-

Old Family Photographs

Does their presence on a gallery wall give these images an elevated status?

No, I don’t think the ‘status’ of the photographs changed: they were still simply groups of old family photographs which may have belonged to a family at one point, but either the family lineage had ceased (through all branches of the family being deceased), or actually they were unwanted, discarded items within a family that still exists, but who, rightly or wrongly, may not value them; either because they didn’t know enough about the various subjects within the photographs (maybe nobody had explained the history through the generations),or maybe simply because they took up valuable space.

Families are generally more fragmented today, with family trees overlapping through multiple marriages; the idea of a single ‘line’ through the generations is less common. Also there is a concerted push to not live in the past, to live for the moment rather than be nostalgic; also to avoid ‘clutter’ and hoard less.

Perhaps as a series created by a photographer, the ‘groups’ of photographs are elevated in status because of the connectedness of ‘discarded family history’, but individual groups of the discarded family photographs would revert to being just that once taken off the walls, out of the exhibition and back to their original state.

Where does their meaning derive from?

I sense the meaning is about how we view our own family histories today. Is it important to preserve them as original photographs, which are somehow sacrosanct, and indefinably linked to the ‘death’ of a lineage?  Or have other ways to remember and document a family history superseded this? The study of family histories on-line is flourishing, encouraged by numerous documentaries of celebrities tracing their ancestors and finding out revelations. Have many of these ‘original’ images been digitally scanned and therefore are still ‘living’, perhaps in a more accessible, informative and useful format?

I know that personally the touch and feel of these old photographs in my own family, is very much part of my ongoing relationship with them in my thoughts and memories. Scanning in the photographs and using them digitally, renders them a bit further away from my original great grandparents/uncles/aunts. After all those original photographs had been handled by them; they had made postcards of some and posted them to show them they cared and were thinking about each other when they were not together. My family now very much reduced down, renders these objects much more extraordinary and precious.

When they are sold (again on eBay, via auction direct from the gallery) is their value increased by the fact that they’re now ‘art’?

Clearly the fact that the photographs were curated by a well-known artist/photographer renders them more expensive financially as ‘elements’ within an exhibition.  The extended story of them belonging to the series and being part of an exhibition, would, by its nature attach greater worth to them. Perhaps when they are moved around the globe again, losing that extra piece of providence/history, they will once again be reduced to ‘worthless’. It is the legitimacy of that known journey to exhibition status which has, possibly momentarily, increased their worth.

Note

Many years ago I fell upon some images on FlickR which fascinated me and which I complemented the creator of, only to receive a somewhat aggressive warning not to swipe the idea and try and recreate my own versions. It baffled me why the photographer had decided to publish them on the Internet if she was so concerned about her idea being replicated!

Anyhow, when I researched the Nicky Bird series, I immediately thought of these photographs. The idea was to actually put some old images in a freezer, effectively ‘freezing the moments in time’. The images then took on a more ‘final, death-like’ quality having a sheen of ice on them, a possible ‘Cryogenic’ treatment to preserve forever:- copies of the images are shown below:-

I like how the photographs are given even more of an ethereal feel with the frost partially covering the images. This maybe takes the idea of photographic archiving to a whole new level!